Audi’s e-Tron Electric Supercar Concept made a big splash at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show, and as a result, Audi has plans to move forward with their plans to build electric cars. The first car to be built is a sort of “mini-R8″ roadster supercar to compete with the Tesla Roadster called the R4.
The Audi R4 is expected to have a similar one-motor-per-wheel layout as the e-Tron Concept, and since it will be using the e-Tron’s powertrain, will likely produce the same 313 horsepower and incredible 3,319 lb-ft of torque, which will propel the car from 0 to 60 mph in around 4.8 seconds. The production R4 will likely be accompanied by gasoline-powered variants, most likely using the Audi TT-RS‘s 335 hp 2.5-liter five-cylinder turbo engine.
The Audi R4, based o nthe above renderings, is very sharp-looking, taking design cues from the e-Tron Concept but moving away from the R8 shape into a more production-likely body style. The jagged C-shaped LED headlights look especially menacing, and of course we see the signature Audi grille up front.
The R4 roadster will probably sit on a modified version of Porsche’s next generation Boxster and Cayman platform, meaning the R4 will be smaller than the R8 supercar but larger than the Audi TT. Price is far from being announced, but consider the electric version of the R4 to compete with the Tesla Roadster, which starts at around $110,000. Expect to see the production R4 on the road as early as 2012.
Insiders at Audi have confirmed production of the R8 Convertible, probably to be released in 2011. The R8 Cabriolet (hopefully called a Spyder instead,) will most likely forgo the retractable hardtop, and instead use a fabric roof. We assume this because of the limited space in the rear from the R8′s mid-mounted engine, and from Audi’s previous use of fabric tops. Whether the convertible will receive the V8 engine from the original R8 or the upcoming 5.2-liter V10 is unknown at this time.
I am very against the idea of a convertible R8, regardless if it’s soft- or hard-top. Some cars simply should not be made into convertibles, and the R8 is one of them. I think the R8 is one of the best-looking cars on the road, but as a convertible it looks terrible. Some of the earlier shots I’ve seen of the R8 Spyder have been downright ugly, and a video of the prototype lapping a track has the car sounding great, but looking terribly awkward. The video is below.
Please Audi, don’t make this car.